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Supreme Court says BHU ‘curfew timings’ are for safety of girl students

A group of students moved the top court challenging the restriction on girl students.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2018 19:55 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Banaras Hindu University,BHU,Supreme Court
Girl students are seen outside the Banaras Hindu University (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

The Supreme Court has refused to examine the validity of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) rules that fixed a deadline for girl students on staying outside the campus, saying such restrictions are meant for their safety.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Misra asked the students, who moved the top court challenging the rules, to approach the varsity authorities with their grievances.

It also asked the university to hear the students and decide on their representation objectively.

“Everything cannot be said in the court. These rules are for the safety of the girls,” the bench told advocate Prashant Bhushan who argued against the rules on behalf of some male students.

“Even I could not get into my daughter’s hostel,” Justice Misra said. “It is for their own safety,” he added, referring to the 8pm curfew timings imposed on girl students living in the BHU hostels. The rules allow boys to stay out of their hostel premises till 10pm.

Parents of girls are also not allowed to enter the hostel. Fathers can stay over in the boy’s hostels overnight, but mothers are not extended the same benefit in the girls’ hostels.

The petitioners claimed rules do not permit the girls to use mobile phones beyond curfew hour and if they do they have to switch on the phone’s speaker. Girls are not served non-vegetarian food, which is not prohibited in the boys’ hostel.

Bhushan pointed out that girls were also not permitted to participate in political activities.

He contended the restrictions were “draconian” and smacked of discrimination. However, the bench asked him if he could show a written order that stops serving of non-vegetarian food in the girl’s hostel.

The discriminatory nature of these rules had triggered protests at the BHU campus in 2016 and prompted some students to move the top court to air their grievances.

The university lawyer opposed Bhushan’s contention and said the rules can be relaxed in special circumstances. She said the students were free to approach the university authority with their representation.

Agreeing with the university counsel, the bench asked the students to follow the suggestion and gave them the liberty to approach the court again if they were still aggrieved.

First Published: Jan 04, 2018 19:55 IST